If you're in your mid-to-late thirties and still haven't achieved the financial and personal lifestyle you wanted before conceiving your first child, you may worry that the quantity and quality of your remaining eggs won't sustain fertility for more than another year or two. However, the thought of having your eggs removed and frozen -- and then going through intrauterine insertion (IUI) or in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive using a frozen egg or embryo -- could be overwhelming, especially if you hope to begin your conception journey in just another year or two. What can you do to test your eggs and ease your mind when it comes to being able to conceive later? Read on to learn more about egg testing methods and potential drawbacks.
What characteristic of your eggs can be tested?
Although there's still a lot of untrod ground in the field of reproductive science, there are significantly more screening tools available than even a decade ago. One way to tell whether your body is still producing a sufficient amount of eggs is the three-day follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) test. By testing the levels of this hormone in your blood during a specific point in your menstrual cycle, your gynecologist will be able to tell whether your body is still producing a healthy quantity of eggs or whether your FSH levels are elevated in anticipation of menopause. Having high natural FSH levels in your thirties can sometimes indicate premature ovarian failure, which means that you'll want to have eggs immediately harvested and frozen to avoid infertility in the future.
You can also have individual eggs extracted and tested for quality, although this test is much more invasive than the FSH test and may require you to take some hormones to make the eggs easier to retrieve. Before the eggs are removed, your gynecologist will want to do an ultrasound of your ovaries to ensure there are enough eggs for removal. Finding out that you have healthy eggs can let you breathe easy, while chromosomal problems or other issues can lead you toward a fertility specialist who can offer more help.
Should you seek testing for your eggs?
If you're generally healthy and have plans to conceive within a year or so, it may not be worth having more than the FSH test. However, if you're still putting off any potential conception for more than a year or two, or if your parents, siblings, or other close family members have had fertility problems, having your eggs tested should be able to bring you substantial peace of mind.Share
13 July 2016
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